The Mittel is a small, compact, long-coated dog with a typical spitzy head and tail curled over the back. They can be seen in all colours and variations (see the breed standard for details). It should be obvious of the dog's sex – with males being masculine in appearance and females feminine. Adult Mittels stand at 30-38cm and weigh 7-11kg.
The German Spitz breed descends directly from the Nordic herding dogs, like the Samoyed, which were taken to Germany and Holland by the Vikings during the Middle Ages. These dogs then spread throughout Europe and were crossed with other herding/shepherd breeds, making the foundation of the Spitz type. By the 1700s, the Spitz became the fashion of British Society and were bred smaller in Victorian times to produce the toy Pomeranian. The present-day German Spitz has two sizes in the UK and breeding between sizes is forbidden by the Kennel Club. However, Kleins will occasionally pop up in German Spitz Mittel litters and vice versa because of the mixed ancestry.
The German Spitz Mittel is a happy, friendly dog. A confident, even-tempered companion, there should be no signs of nervousness or aggression. They are very active and alert and love human company, liking nothing better than to be included in any family activities.
The German Spitz Mittel is relatively healthy though like many breeds they can suffer from hereditary eye disorders and therefore eye testing prior to breeding is advised. Epilepsy and kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place also occur in the breed.
The German Spitz Mittel needs little exercise when compared with other larger breeds. About half an hour a day should suffice for an adult though he will happily accept more if it is offered. They do enjoy a run or a walk and will quite happily occupy themselves in the garden all day.
Small dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
As a general rule, a thorough brushing several times a week will ensure the coat stays clean and knot-free. The hair should be brushed 'the wrong way'. Particular attention should be paid to the ears and elbows where knots can occur more quickly. Males tend to shed once a year and bitches twice a year: this is when most of the hair will be shed.
Best Dog Breeds for Children
While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children , all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.
Small and long-coated, the German Spitz Mittell breed is friendly, active and always alert. Read about how to look after them, and their breed history, here.